“Tonight is an opportunity and it’s one that we hope to take.”

They said our days were numbered - Stephen McCarthy of Sportsfile

Monday October 8, Turner’s Cross, 7.30pm

Keith Long says his players are more determined than ever to deliver big nights for Bohemians.

The Gypsies travelled to Cork City after training yesterday evening ahead of tonight’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup semi-final rematch.

Bohs looked to have one foot in the final after taking a deserved 1-0 lead through Dinny Corcoran last Sunday.

But the disputed decision to award the Leesiders a penalty three minutes from time was enough for John Caulfeld’s side to earn a replay tonight.

Some observers felt that was Bohs’ chance, but Long’s team is one that has continued to defy the odds this season.


All three previous victories in this competition – against Wexford, Galway United and Derry City – came on the road.

It goes without saying that tonight’s opposition are a huge step up from any of those three teams.

But having got this far, there is no doubt in Long’s mind that his side are refreshed, refocused and ready to make the most of tonight’s game.

He said: “We’re looking forward to it. Last Sunday was a great occasion in Dalymount.

“Obviously it would have been nice if we’d held on a little bit longer. But it wasn’t to be on the night.

“It’s a tough ask to go down to Turner’s Cross. We’ll have to do it the hard way. It’s a big game and the lads can’t wait for it.

“Cork might feel they’ve done the hard part by forcing the replay, but we see tonight’s game as a big opportunity for us.

“We want big nights like last Sunday. We want big nights like that in Dalymount. We want to be involved in big games at the business end of the season.

“Tonight is an opportunity for us to get to a cup final and it’s one that we hope to take.”

While the penalty debate dominated press coverage last week, Long insists his side drew a line under it and put it out of their minds.

He said: “Obviously there was a lot of discussion about whether it was or wasn’t a penalty.

“As a team we had to move on from that quite quickly.

“The players were obviously naturally very disappointed afterwards but they digested what happened and collectively moved on.

“You can’t look back. We’ve another massive game to get up for and we will be ready for it.”

Friday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Waterford ended a remarkable 10-game unbeaten run for Long’s men.

While the manager was disappointed to see the run of form come to an end, the priority was always to rest key men ahead of tonight’s game.

Long made nine changes from Sunday’s game. The only two survivors on Friday – Dan Casey and Dan Kelly – are suspended this evening after accumulating five yellow cards each.

Long said: “We’ll miss the two lads, there’s no doubt about it. But we have fellas ready to come in and desperate to play.

“The lads are in a good frame of mind after a good run of form.

“Friday was a much-changed team. It would have been nice to keep that run of form we were on going but the priority was tonight, let’s be honest.

“We’ll go down there and hopefully give a good account of ourselves.”

Long’s men will be backed by a crowd of 700 boisterous travelling Bohs supporters.

He added: “It’s fantastic. Even on Friday you could see the togetherness between the players and the supporters.

“The supporters come to Dalymount and further afield and they consistently urge their team to do well.

“They get excited when they see young players on the pitch – particularly their own who have come through and been developed by the club.

“You can see that togetherness. You can’t overstate the importance of that – the players feed off that, they really do.

“They can feel the energy from the terraces to the pitch. To have 700 going down on a Monday night is fantastic.

“I know they will get behind the team and they will help us.”


Bohs are without the suspended duo of Dan Casey and Dan Kelly. Ryan Swan (cruciate) and Ryan Masterson (quad) remain out.

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